May 26, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9358

Turkish Organized Crime Boss: To Evade DEA And Ship Cocaine To Middle East, Erkan Yıldırım, Son Of Former Prime Minister And Parliament Speaker Binali Yıldırım, Close Friend Of Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, Recently Established 'New Headquarters' In Venezuela

May 26, 2021
Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 9358

On May 23, 2021, Turkish organized crime leader Sedat Peker released a video in which he describes, among other things, the establishment of a "new headquarters" for a drug-trafficking route bringing cocaine from Colombia through Venezuela to Turkey and across the Middle East, including to the port of Latakia, Syria. Peker says that the new headquarters was set up to evade the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which he says has influence in Colombia but none in Venezuela, and which seized a shipment of 4.9 tons of cocaine related to this drug-trafficking route in June 2020.

Peker says that Erkan Yıldırım established the new headquarters in the port of Caracas, Venezuela, in January and February of 2021. Yıldırım is the son of Binali Yıldırım, who is former prime minister, parliament speaker, party leader and parliamentary leader for the ruling AKP, and is currently an MP representing the AKP for a district in İzmir province. Peker describes Erkan Yıldırım and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu as having a "close friendship." Peker says that the financing for this operation is organized in Cyprus by one Halil Falyalı, who reportedly owns hotels and casinos and organizes illegal gambling in Cyprus, and that Mehmet Ağar, a former interior minister, justice minister, and general director of Turkey's Security Directorate, is "right ın the middle" of the work.[11] Peker further said that Turkish government officials, Mehmet Ağar and Korkut Eken, a former Turkish military officer and officer in the Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT), Turkey's national intelligence service, directed the killing in the 1990s of two Turkish journalists, Kutlu Adalı and Uğur Mumcu.

The video is the seventh in a series of videos, each approximately an hour long, that Peker has been releasing every few days since May 2. Each video has received at least five million views, and the most recent video, which is the subject of this report, received 11 million views in a single day. Peker has said in these videos that Yeldana Kaharman, a young female journalist whose death was reported as a suicide, had reported to authorities a day before she was found dead that Turkish MP Tolga Ağar, representing the AKP for a district in Elazığ province, had raped her.[2] Peker's videos continue to be the subject of much discussion and debate on social media in Turkey,[3] while the government tries to block access to local and independent news reports about Peker's statements,[4] as well as to Peker's personal website.[5]

Sedat Peker describes a drug trafficking ring involving close friends and relatives of leading AKP government officials.

The following is a translation of excerpts from Peker's May 23 video:

"Who Went To Venezuela To Establish A New Headquarters?... Mr. Erkan Yıldırım, Son Of Our Former Prime Minister, The Honorable Binali Yıldırım"

"The cocaine was originally coming from Columbia. 4.9 tons. It was seized on June 9 of last year. Later, to set up a new headquarters – the DEA is very powerful and dominant there [in Colombia], and when they realized they would not be able to run the system there, there was the 800-km border with Venezuela. It is easy to cross over there from Colombia – a new address – because the DEA has no control in Venezuela. None... And this cocaine that comes to us, you think one part comes to the domestic [i.e., Turkish] market, and one section goes to Europe. No: The price of cocaine in Europe is very low. 45,000 euro per kilo. In Turkey it is very expensive. But the place where it is truly expensive is the Middle East. The port of Latakia in Syria is also not under DEA control. Now, after this product was seized, who went to Venezuela to establish a new headquarters? Yes, who went? Mr. Erkan Yıldırım, son of our former prime minister, the honorable Binali Yıldırım. At the beginning of this year, after that product was seized, he went in January and stayed for four days, and he went in February and stayed for four days. There is the port of Caracas, the biggest port in Venezuela. Dry bulk cargo ships can come directly to Turkey from there, however, container ships stop in the Dominican [Republic] and continue on [to Turkey] from there. There will now be many seizures around the Dominican because the new headquarters is there [in Venezuela]... After the cocaine has reached Turkey in this way, 30-35 meter yachts able to carry one to two tons of cocaine and make long journeys will distribute it. It is especially being done at [the port of] Latakia, Syria."

"[Former Interior Minister] Mehmet Ağar Is Right In The Middle Of This Synchronization – Look At The Friendship Between Erkan Yıldırım And [Interior Minister] Süleyman Soylu"

"Now, how is the money moving? Cyprus. Halil Falyalı. All the money is moving from there. Halil Falyalı, who 20 years ago was nothing, owns Cyprus... Why do you not bring Halil Falyalı to Turkey? All of the illegal betting is done through him. It is in the official government reports. The American DIA[6] wants to get him too, it can't get him either. The other countries want to get him too for shipping drugs, they can't get him... When Erkan Yıldırım goes to Cyprus, he is a guest of Halil Falyalı in his hotels and casinos. I do not think that Mr. Binali [Yıldırım] is involved in this. However, in the past, the recordings that they made of Erkan Yıldırım, not having to do with gambling, but other recordings, bribes, other things, they directed him to this job and became an apparatus of it. And the network of the organization of the comings and goings from Turkey are done in this way. Why can the cocaine not be seized? The reason is not directly related to Erkan Yıldırım's ship. Other ships are coordinating it. So, where is [former interior minister] Mehmet Ağar in all of this? Mehmet Ağar is right in the middle of this synchronization. Look at the close friendship between Erken Yıldırım and Süleyman Soylu, and look at the close friends around Erken Yıldırım and [Interior Minister] Süleyman Soylu on this matter...

"In 1996, we saw the murder of [journalist] Kutlu Adalı... In those days we were always with [intelligence officer] Korkut Eken and Mehmet Ağar... We were young and patriotic [they said:] 'He's helping the PKK'... [Korkut Eken] said: 'There is a man in Cyprus who is wants to sell Cyprus to the Greeks.' We were kids, we were young, they got us excited. They said 'I need two professionals.' I said: 'I will give you my own brother. My own brother. Atilla Peker. He is very good at these jobs. He is an expert. He grew up on the streets.' I learned from a friend that all of the tickets of Turkish Airlines are kept on a hard disk. They can look at the tickets: How many days before this murder did Korkut Eken and Atilla Yıldırım[7] go to Cyprus? But, Allah Almighty did not grant us the blood of that man... He was not going to sell the country to the Greeks or anything like that. They always do this. Patriotism, patriotism, they get the nation fired up, and pit everyone against each other. They came back a few days later, they couldn't pull it off. I spoke to Korkut [Eken]. He said 'We're going back.' Then another team connected to them killed him [Kutlu Adalı]. I ran into Korkut, he said: 'It's been taken care of.'..."

 "Uğur Mumcu Is Martyred And Who Comes [To His Grave] First? The Killer Comes First – Mehmet Ağar"

"[Journalist] Uğur Mumcu. You may agree with his ideas or not. I think he was a martyr. He was an honorable man. Above all, he was an honest man. Why was he killed? Look at the articles he was writing at the time he was killed... There are always drug farms and drug sales in regions overrun by terrorism, always. And an arms trade. Uğur Mumcu is martyred and who comes [to his grave] first? The killer comes first. Mehmet Ağar...

"Dear attorneys general, write a letter to Venezuela. Three or four months after the date that the product was seized, [ask:] 'Did Erkan Yıldırım come [to Venezuela] in the months of January and February [2021]? Did he go to the port of Caracas and discuss the rental of a special section [of the port]? If he rented it, through whom did he rent it?' The shipping has started. [Peker pauses] You are the filth of the filth, and you call me an organized crime [leader] – you guys are disgusting!"


[1] Mehmet Ağar was sentenced in May 2011 to five years in prison over his connections to the Susurluk scandal, which is famous in Turkey for its revelations of connections between the country's political leadership, military, and organized crime circles. This network is generally referred to in Turkish as the "deep state." The connections were revealed after a car crash on November 3, 1996, in Susurluk, a town in Balıkesir province. Three men were riding in the same car: Huseyin Kocadağ, a senior police official; Abdullah Çatlı, a wanted right-wing militant; and Sedat Bucak, a Kurdish politician. Kocadağ and Çatlı were killed in the crash, while Bucak had a broken leg and a fractured skull., April 16, 2012.

[3], May 23, 2021.

[4], May 21, 2021.

[5], May 22, 2021.

[6] Peker here pronounces "DIA." He likely meant DEA, to which he refers throughout the video. He does not again mention the DIA. This is unclear.

[7] It appears that Peker misspoke here, saying Atilla Yıldırım rather than Atilla Peker, his brother, to whom he referred in the sentence immediately prior. He never again mentions anyone named Atilla Yıldırım, though he had been previously discussing Binali and Erkan Yıldırım. 

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